In the world of libraries, questions about service dogs are increasingly common. The growing popularity and visibility of support and companion animals has led to significant interest about how trained animals can help those living with disabilities. Luckily, the Association of Specialized Government and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASGCLA), a division of ALA, has a newly updated toolkit designed to help you create a more welcoming and accessible library environment for visitors with service dogs. This updated toolkit will also help clear up confusion about the important differences between service animals and support animals.
Service dogs are rigorously trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. By learning about these issues, library staff members can better support patrons who have dogs with them. For the month of September, consider learning more about service dogs, working with local service dog schools or advocacy groups, or creating displays or programs to highlight all that these dogs can do. A good place to start might be the recent critically-acclaimed documentary film Pick of the Litter.
For more information, please visit the websites of the advocacy and educational organizations provided at the end of the toolkit. We also encourage you to visit the ASGCLA website at www.asgcladirect.org.